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Open Access Publications from the University of California

He wahine māia, he wahine toa: A Gathering of Reflections on the Work of Haunani-Kay Trask


In 1985, Haunani-Kay Trask visited Aotearoa contributing critical perspectives to a Pacific studies conference at the University of Auckland. Observing the disturbing absence of Indigenous women speakers at the conference, Dr. Trask finished her keynote early, giving her remaining time to two Māori women, Atareta Poananga and Titewhai Harawira. As a group of Indigenous Pacific women negotiating our own place in the academy, this conscious political act is one of many forms of Haunani-Kay Trask’s activism that has inspired us. From various parts of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa, we come together to weave stories of our engagements in the intellectual and activist work of Haunani-Kay Trask. In distinctive ways, we acknowledge Dr. Trask’s legacy and reflect on the inspiration and insight that her work has provided for us as Native daughters of the Pacific and as emerging scholars. Drawing on our own unique sea, land, and skyscapes, our histories of colonialism and resistance, and our creative and intellectual journeys, we share the multiplicity of ways in which Haunani-Kay Trask’s work speaks to our hearts and minds. Reflecting on her work as a scholar, poet, and activist, we weave together our words of respect, love, and admiration, and we consider the ways in which her scholarship continues to have ongoing relevance to us all.

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